What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Watching a runway show of the finest vintage apparel with friends. And with a few friends in the show too! Hosted at Temple Isaiah, a midcentury building during Modernism Week here in Palm Springs with renowned Fashion Icon Patrick McDonald as our M/C. Music was from Studio 54 days. Loved it!
Showcasing EmilioPucci ,Givenchy, Lanvin, YvesSaintLaurent, and Halston.
Individual Photos: Kathy Wright
We were greeted and escorted to the stunning Warsaw ballroom to enjoy a glass of wine, bubbly or beverage and an assortment of lite bites. We were also able to shop before and after the show at the Mitchells Palm Springs & Candice Held Pop Up Shops.
A portion of proceeds from this event were donated back to Temple Isaiah.
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could – Louise Erdrich
A cute story as told by a friend:
When I was a young child, my mother used to tape silhouette figures of cupid on a few of the walls in our house as Valentine’s Day approached. And being a youngster, I never quite understood why it was that she did that. When I asked she’d say that cupid (whoever that was) would be visiting me while I slept and would shoot an arrow of love through my heart. The tooth fairy is a better story; at least you wake up with money under your pillow.
Of course as a child that didn’t exactly sound like it was a good thing to have some unknown figure shoot an arrow through my heart. I saw what happened to those so unlucky on television when I’d watch the adventures of Robin Hood. But my mom tried to reassure me that it wasn’t like that.
The next morning we’d get a card and some chocolate; and at school girls would send me cards saying be my Valentine.
And now as a grown man I understand love isn’t something you get to plan on your own terms. It’s something, some magic or energy that overtakes you like an arrow in the night while you sleep. One whose purpose is to set us free.
It’s all a mystery to me, but without love, life would be meaningless and empty. So embrace love every day; not just today!
Casa Cody is the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs. All of the buildings at Casa Cody tell a story. I explored the now designated historic preservation site the other day.
The property was founded in the 1920’s by Hollywood pioneer, Harriet Cody, cousin to the legendary, Buffalo Bill. The hotel is nestled against the spectacular San Jacinto mountains, in the heart of Palm Springs.
History of the hotel: In the early 1900’s, Harriet and Harold Bryant Cody came by wagon from Hollywood to Palm Springs. They settled on land that was to become Casa Cody and built a home. By the 1920’s, Harriet established the property as a hotel and it became the stomping grounds for legends of the arts community, visiting the desert. Charlie Chaplin, American Opera Singer Lawrence Tibbett and AnaÏs Nin spent time here, particularly in the Adobe House, where a stage was built and Tibbett’s piano was kept below the House for performances and parties. Charlie Chaplin was rumored to have performed on the stage in the living room.
Casa Cody combines glamour, history and just plain breathtaking beauty at every glance.
If anybody knows how to throw the perfect themed tea party, it’s Tracy Turco.
Originally from Miami, the multi-faceted entrepreneur now splits her time between living in New York City and Palm Springs. Fairly new to Palm Springs, Tracy Turco (nee Stern) is quickly becoming the toast of the town. And for good reason. She’s like a modern day Renaissance woman. In fact she’s been called that before in writing in reference to her extremely diverse taste in fashion and décor. Let’s just say it’s never boring. And I’m happy to call her my friend.
On Sunday I had the pleasure of celebrating her birthday alongside her husband Jerry, their friends and a few neighbors in their fabulous Tiki inspired home in the Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs. The dress code was colorful to blend in with the surroundings, including a canary yellow T-bird convertible classic parked outside the entrance. Or shall we call it a TEA bird?
Tracy really has a natural flair for throwing it all together in a seemingly effortless looking fashion. She’s a gracious host and we all enjoyed the best sweet little treats ever while sipping on champagne, wine and of course, tea. Mind you, not just every day tea. Especially mixed by Tracy herself, very elegant, unusual and delicious. They are blended with an artist’s palette. In fact, Tracy’s premier tea collection Salon Tea, once earned her a spot in Oprah’s Favorite Things. Always full of surprises, I just learned that she previously owned a Salon Tea on South Granville Street in Vancouver.
Tea is only a part of what Tracy is passionate about. She’s an artist, art collector, animal advocate, author, designer, hotelier. I hope I didn’t leave anything out. Oh yes, one more thing…she has a good heart by offering a philanthropic donation to the public art fund from anyone staying at her new Art Hotel. A tiki hotel is next. She is both a savvy business woman and a nice overall person in general.
For those who are inclined to do so themselves, Tracy has written two incredible DIY books: Tea Party and Tea For You. Link below.
This week on an unusually windy day, I had the pleasure of checking out another unique hotel.
Kathy, the gracious owner, escorted me around her delightfully large one-acre property and filled me in on the history surrounding the private 16 room boutique hotel nestled against the backdrop of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains. After all, what’s a good hotel here without a story?
Originally designed by renowned modernist architect Albert Frey and built in 1960, the hotel re-opened in 2016, after a restoration by its current owners, Kathy and Gary Friedle, to its original mid-century modern design. The space is very charming and makes you feel at home. I think you might want to stay for more than one night. The outdoor space includes a lovely heated saltwater pool, the only Scandinavian Spa in the area including dry sauna, hot tub, seating areas and a Smeg retro fridge where guests are welcome to help themselves to the contents. A complimentary continental breakfast and sangria happy hour every day for guests. What’s not to love?
Bonus: I love that Gary concocts his own teas which guests also have the privilege of sampling from the cart. There’s even a Palm Springs blend which smells heavenly.
The Monkey Tree is located less than a mile from the hustle and bustle Charlie Farrel’s famed Racquet Club. The hotel is a classic example of mid-century modern design and was a get-away for the celebrities who wanted to have some time away from the public. Palm Springs lore has it that celebrity guests at The Monkey Tree Hotel have included: Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Eric Clapton, Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder, and even a JFK and Marilyn visit (guarded at the private entrance of their suite by the secret service).
In 1995, Albert Frey contacted the then owners of the hotel to ask if he could come by for a visit. At the time, Frey was 92 years old and said that he had not visited the property since it was built. He rode his bike the four miles from Frey House II where he was living to the hotel in a white polyester pantsuit and burnt orange shirt, arriving dapper as always. As he toured the property, he shared his inspiration for the layout and design of the hotel with the current owners. Frey was fascinated by the San Jacinto Mountains and found great inspiration in them. He intended the dramatic slanting roof lines to be in harmony and pay homage to the mountains and the Indians.
ABOUT THE OWNERS (Kathy & Gary):
After obtaining her Master of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis in 1992, Kathy began her architecture career in New York City. She worked for Gensler for 20 years in both design and management roles. Her clients in New York included many prestigious law firms, a well-known California based talent agency and numerous advertising agencies.
Gary has been in the field of financial management for 25 years. He started his career working on a trading desk in New York City then worked with private wealth clients and most recently was the Chief Operating Officer of a private wealth management firm. Gary has a passion for long distance running and has participated in several (100-mile) ultra-marathons.
In 2015 an opportunity arose to purchase a boutique hotel in Palm Springs, and the timing and career change seemed right for them and their two teenage sons to try a new adventure on the west coast. After seeing the great architectural bones of The Monkey Tree hotel they dove in to the restoration of the mid-century modern property which had been largely closed to the public since 1988. Their first decision was to re-establish the original 1960 name of the hotel and to re-brand, and re-invigorate the property.
They did just that. I would definitely recommend this hotel.
Classic is timeless, classic is elegant and it’s safe – not to be confused with boring. When it comes to investment bags and shoes, it’s best to stick with enduring quality, especially if you’re on a budget. At least that’s my feeling. So when I scour the vintage markets my eyes always seem to travel to the designers who stand the test of time. And I have a good eye for certain pieces of value. When you buy well-designed vintage that never goes out of style you can always mix it up with something current.
At the Palm Springs Vintage Market I recently bought a pair of perfect fitting, barely worn Ferragamo Vara Pumps. Only one pair in my exact size. They were obviously waiting for me.
This is my second pair. Last year I also bought a pair of Vara Pumps (in photo) at this same market. Again; one pair in my size. Before I tried the first pair on I always associated these shoes with either matronly women or sensible ones who work in offices, of which I am neither.
Even though you can’t beat the craftsmanship, I was never looking to own a pair until my practical side got the better of me. Also I enjoy the thrill of the find.
So when a person in their 20’s and a person in their 80’s can wear the very same shoe with panache, that’s what I call a true CLASSIC!
Salvatore Ferragamo: the grandpa of the Italian shoe
When most shoe lovers think about designer shoes, the first designers that come to their minds are Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik. All super gorgeous, but incredibly high heels. Little do they know, that one the first popular designer heel was a very comfortable one: Ferragamo’s Vara pump. One of the most sold pair of shoes worldwide and an iconic shoe that breathes beauty, craftsmanship and above all, comfort.
The midheel, calfskin pump is detailed with a gros-grain bow on the toe, fastened with a metal buckle, with the family signature engraved in the leather. The shoe is designed to fit into the lifestyle of a sporty yet elegant woman.
The Ferragamo empire started with Salvatore Ferragamo, an innovator in footwear design. Salvatore was born in Bonito, Italy as the 11th of 14 children in a humble, agricultural family. Ever since he was young, he was determined to become a shoe maker and started his first apprenticeship in Naples at a cobbler, when he was only 9 years old. He moved back to Bonito while he was still an adolescent, and he opened his workshop with six assistants, where he produced custom-fitted shoes. His brother worked in the States during that time and he invited Salvatore to come to the US, Salvatore only being 17 years old. So he went to Santa Barbara, to open his own repair shop, where he repaired the shoes of celebrities. In 1923, he opened the Hollywood Boot Shop, where celebrities could buy outrageous footwear, with appliques, glitter, feathers and pearls. He was named the ‘Shoemaker of the stars’, designing for stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Soon enough Ferragamo labels could be found all over the States.
His standards for measuring and sizing, combined with originality, influenced the entire shoe-industry.